When we got to North Padre Island, Texas, we had a long list of potential birding sites to visit. After all, Corpus Christi has been voted "America's Birdiest City" numerous times, so there is "birding trail" with a huge number of sites where people can watch birds and maybe add to their life lists. Even staying for a month, as we did, we couldn't get to them all unless birding was ALL we did. And it wasn't. Some days were just too windy for good birding, or too cold, or so nice we wanted to ride our bikes instead (and there were a lot of days like that!) So, before we even knew it, it was our last couple of days in the area and too many parks remaining on our list. We still hadn't seen a Green Jay, Whooping or Sandhill Crane, or a goose of any sort. For shame!
We chose Goose Island State Park as our last birding site because both cranes and Green Jays had been recently sighted there, according to ebird reports. And although it was a bit of a drive from "da island" (just over an hour), it wasn't as far away as some of the other sites that we'd considered.
But, we messed up the directions (don't even ask how -- our GPS was not involved!) and ended up going the long, long, long way to get there, so it took two hours to arrive. And we'd waited until after lunch to go as it was a cold morning. So we didn't have a lot of time there, and it was still chilly and windy enough that it wasn't my favorite day of birding. I was a bit underdressed for the conditions as we'd gotten used to much warmer temperatures on the island. I am not used to winter any more, and even though it was in the 40s, the wind made it feel like the 30s. And when birding, you aren't huffing and puffing up a hiking trail to elevate your core temperature. You're creeping along slowly, trying to be quiet, and often even standing or sitting in one place or sitting and waiting for the birds to "un-spook" and come out without noticing your presence. So, if it's chilly, you really feel it.
All that to say that the birding could have been a lot better than it was, but we just weren't there long enough to make the most of it. So, we still didn't see a stork of any sort, nor a Green Jay, nor a goose. We actually didn't spend any time at the waterfront part of the park due to the wind and the fact that we'd already seen most of the common water birds in the area. We spent the vast majority of our visit in the wooded area of the park, and we saw enough birds to make our trip worthwhile.
There was one area along the trail with a bench looking out over a clearing with bird feeders and a couple of water features. As it was getting late in the afternoon, this area attracted a lot of birds and was where we finally saw several more species. Unfortunately, the photos aren't very clear as it wasn't very light in the clearing, and the birds weren't too close to us, but here are a few. We sure had fun watching them!
This White-Winged Dove looked like I felt -- all puffed up in the chilly breeze!
After leaving the main part of the park, we drove over for a quick stop to check out the thousand-year old live oak nearby. Wow, this tree was impressive! Typical of live oaks, it's not all that tall but massively wide. Unfortunately there is a fence around it, so I couldn't go give it a hug!
In this area we saw a few busy Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers and Ruby-Crowned Kinglets, working the live oaks. Love the red crown on the male's head!
We're going to do one last Padre Island post that will simply be a repository for all the bird photos we took, some of which have appeared in previous postings, some new. Stay tuned!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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